He could have but He didn’t

He’s in Gethsemane and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that he’s not going to fight. There was a skirmish there when he was arrested but he was not involved in it and he did not approve of it. In fact, he disapproved of it and, according to Luke, healed the one who was wounded and reprimanded his friend, “Put your sword away. That’s not how we do it.”

He’s not going to fight apparently. He could have, oh, he could have. Matthew has absolutely no doubt he could have. In fact he said, “Don’t you know I could ask God right now for twelve legions of angels and they would be here to fight for me?” He could have, says Matthew, but he doesn’t…

When he’s on the cross, there was a good time for him to do it. With all the taunting, just reading the taunting makes me want to do something. “If you’re the Messiah, why don’t you jump down? Everybody will believe in you. If you’re the king, come down. If you’re the Son of God, God would surely love you and get you down.”

That would have been my cue to act. Pull a little whammy. Motivate and energize the crowds and they would take care of it with garden tools and everything else and we’d be on our way. But it’s obvious that he’s not going to fight, although he could…

Matthew, more than anyone else, likes to call Jesus the King. He could have done it, but he didn’t. And I don’t know why I’m always surprised when I read this because I know better. Matthew has told us all along that he’s not going to. Is he the King? He’s the King. Is he going to fight? No. The title for every chapter in Matthew is this: “He Could Have but He Didn’t.

–Fred B. Craddock

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When God renounced power

Power, no matter how well-intentioned, tends to cause suffering. Love, being vulnerable, absorbs it. In a point of convergence on a hill called Calvary, God renounced the one for the sake of the other.

―Philip Yancey

Published in: on 11/03/2012 at 10:52  Leave a Comment  
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The seduction of power

What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life. Jesus asks, “Do you love me?” We ask, “Can we sit at your right hand and your left hand in your Kingdom?” (Mt. 20:21). …We have been tempted to replace love with power.

–Henri Nouwen

Published in: on 11/02/2012 at 11:00  Leave a Comment  
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Throwing away power

When God gave us free will, the Maker did indeed throw away power. When Christ came to us as Jesus, that was an even more radical throwing away of power. But that’s what our loving God does!

God throws away power over and over again,
while we greedily grab for it.

A lover wants to love the beloved, not to wield power, but to love, hoping that the love will be returned in the same way. When we are caught up in power we are not free, but in bondage to the power we have grasped. God is completely free because power has been laughingly thrown away in order that love may reign.

The throwing away of power
requires enormous power.

The all-powerful God who manipulates every event is like that Oriental potentate. When Lord Acton wrote that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, was he thinking only of human power? God’s rejection of power makes me wonder.

–Madeleine L’Engle (emphasis added)

Choosing the cross

Hard it is, very hard,
To travel up the slow and stony road
To Calvary, to redeem mankind; far better
To make but one resplendent miracle,
Lean through the cloud, lift the right hand of power
And with a sudden lightning smite the world perfect.
Yet this was not God’s way, Who had the power,
But set it by, choosing the cross, the thorn,
The sorrowful wounds. Something there is, perhaps,
That power destroys in passing, something supreme,
To whose great value in the eyes of God
That cross, that thorn, and those
five wounds bear witness.

–Dorothy Leigh Sayers (1893 – 1957)

God throws away power

When God gave us free will, the Maker did indeed throw away power. When Christ came to us as Jesus, that was an even more radical throwing away of power. But that’s what our loving God does!

God throws away power over and over again,
while we greedily grab for it.

A lover wants to love the beloved, not to wield power, but to love, hoping that the love will be returned in the same way. When we are caught up in power we are not free, but in bondage to the power we have grasped.

God is completely free because
power has been laughingly thrown away
in order that love may reign.

The throwing away of power requires enormous power. The all-powerful God who manipulates every event is like that Oriental potentate. When Lord Acton wrote that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, was he thinking only of human power? God’s rejection of power makes me wonder.

–Madeleine D’Engle

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